Brief Report| Volume 62, ISSUE 3, P267-269, August 01, 2007

Decreased Serum Levels of Epidermal Growth Factor in Adult Subjects with High-Functioning Autism

Published:November 24, 2006DOI:


      The neurobiological basis for autism remains poorly understood. Given the role of growth factors in brain development, we hypothesized that epidermal growth factor (EGF) may play a role in the pathophysiology of autism. In this study, we examined whether serum levels of EGF are altered in adult subjects with high-functioning autism.


      We measured serum levels of EGF in the 17 male subjects with high-functioning autism and 18 age-matched healthy male subjects.


      The serum levels of EGF in the subjects with high-functioning autism (72.4 ± 102.8 pg/mL [mean ± SD]) were significantly lower (Mann-Whitney U = 22.0, p < .001) than those of normal control subjects (322.3 ± 122.0 pg/mL [mean ± SD]). However, there were no correlations between serum EGF levels and clinical variables in the subjects with autism.


      This study suggests that decreased levels of EGF might be implicated in the pathophysiology of high-functioning autism.

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